Judging the Echo Awards (1,302 words)
* A package for a German health insurance company asked the reader to trace his or her foot onto a piece of paper and mail it to the company to "take the first step" in getting health insurance. Then the company follows up by sending the prospect a pair of sneakers! Now that's an involvement device!
* A package from World Vision to the sponsors of needy children was bright, colorful and upbeat—quite a departure from the typical fund-raising solicitation of this kind. It asked the sponsor to consider mailing the enclosed birthday card to the child it sponsors. It then asked the sponsor to make a small donation to send a gift (along with the card). The response rate was overwhelming, and it was generating incremental revenues.
* Design 64, a magazine developed by "Starving Artists" in Virginia, mailed a package that really made me laugh.
These folks sent prospects a real box of macaroni in a jiffy bag and told the prospects a great story about how artists really do live on macaroni. The response rate was great. Another mailing from these "Starving Artists" went out to advertisers, and invited them to a "mystery event" where they had to bring a little card that was enclosed in the letter. The card said, "Fido." In addition to bringing the card to the event, the letter indicated that you must burn the letter immediately after reading it. These packages were so innovative I really wanted to go to the event and see the magazine!
* A British company promoting voice answering services used a voice chip that talks to you as you open the solicitation package. The voice was clear and easy to understand as it described the product and was really on target for the audience. The only problem? It wouldn't be quiet as I went through the rest of the entries!